Right now, Pat Riley is not coaching in the NBA. Despite the pleas of some Heat fans.
But you know the man can coach. He’s got a literal handful of NBA championship rings and is a three-time NBA Coach of the Year. He’s in the Hall of Fame.
Tuesday he was given the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association, something he can place proudly in an already overflowing trophy case at home. Mavericks coach and current coaching association president Rick Carlisle presented the award.
“This is not an award,” Riley said. “This is something somebody bestows on you. I’m very honored that the coaches association would do this.”
Riley is only the fifth winner ever, joining coaching legends Tommy Heinsohn, Jack Ramsay, Tex Winter and Lenny Wilkens.
Winning the award named after the late Piston coach means a lot to Riley, he said. While they started out as rival coaches — Riley is best known as the coach of the Showtime Lakers with his slicked-back hair — the two well-dressed men became fast friends and Riley was there near the end as Daly was battling cancer in 2009. You could tell he was genuinely moved by the award.
But you could also tell he had something else going on in his mind, as the current president of the Miami Heat. But no, he’s not coming down to coach again. Spo is his boy.